Monday, January 16, 2012

Jessica Rules the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey

Release date: January 10th 2012
Published by: Harcourt Children's Books
Genre:  Young Adult
Rating: 2/5 stars

It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?

My thoughts:

After waiting for so long, Jessica Rules the Dark Side finally came out. And I couldn’t have been unhappier. Why, you ask me, is the second book such a disappointment, since I absolutely loved Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side? There are not only one, but at least three reasons. And I promise not to be disrespectful to this book or its author, for even with my dislike, I was still able to enjoy the story.

After marrying Lucius and going to Romania, Jessica – Princess Antanasia – must go deep into her role as a Dragomir Princess, and fulfill her place beside Lucius. Problem is, she doesn’t sound like a princess, she doesn’t look like a princess – most of the time, that is – and doesn’t even want to rule. So you can imagine what a poor excuse of a princess she ended up being when Lucius was accused of murdering one of the Elders, and taken away into prison, and it was Jess that had to clear his name.

If my husband were in jail, and his life in constant risk – after all, vampires can’t live without blood for long (assuming my husband were a vampire, of course) – I would do anything to clear his name and save him from certain destruction. In fact, I believe every single woman who’s married and loves her husband would do the same. Hell, Catherine Crawfield would agree with me. But, as always, every rule has an exception, and Jessica is that exception. She did nothing to find evidence in Lucius’ favor, and I mean it when I say nothing. All the new Princess did was wimp and complain about what she was going to do now that Lucius wasn’t there with her.

Seriously, the girl didn’t do anything to save her husband’s life! She knew that he wouldn’t last one week without blood… and five days after his imprisonment, she was learning Romanian and talking to Mindy about her best friend’s love life with a surfer vampire. And she still had courage to think that she wouldn’t be able to live without Lucius? That if the verdict ended up being guilty, she’d rather die than rule without her husband?

Now that I mentioned Mindy, I can’t understand why she was in this book. Not that she didn’t play an important role, really, but her point of view was shallow, self centered, and I swear, if I read another “like”, I’m going to kill someone. Not only did her use of a ridiculously “modern” English seem forced, it felt brute compared to Jess’ contemporary but well written point of view. However, I loved how Lucius’ trial was told by Mindy – how she didn’t sound like an immature teenager, at least in this few chapters.

Oh, and Mindy’s love interest was just as uninteresting as her – and as irritating. Not that I have anything against Raniero. The letters exchanged between him and Lucius while the latter was in jail were funny, if not for the constant “LOL” that seemed to accompany every single sentence written by Raniero. Dude, what are you LOL-ing about? Your friend, whom you consider a brother, is in jail, succumbing slowly until he’s dead, and you’re laughing? Am I the only one here who actually cares about Lucius?

The whole mystery behind Claudiu’s murder was so obvious I felt like switching roles with Mindy just to shake some sense into Jess. Yeah, it was that obvious. If Jessica had spent less time complaining and more time actually doing something, Lucius wouldn’t have had to spent so much time suffering from lack of blood. I’m sure I was so supposed to look like this when I found out who the murderer was:

But I looked like this, instead:

As it is, it took way too long for Jessica to, like, grow up and realize that there were bigger things at stake – no pun intended – than how her life changed now that she was in Romania. And when she did change, it fit her character like a glove, like it was right at her face, the whole time, what she was supposed to be, and she was just too blind to see it.

I just can’t give 1 star to Jessica Rules the Dark Side because even with so many irritating flaws, I still loved to see more of Lucius as a husband as well as a ruler – he was the only that didn’t disappoint me, really – and the last part of the book was good. No more comments.

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